It takes a village to raise a child, but this is especially true during a child custody fight. To fulfill the child’s best interests, the judge can appoint a child custody evaluator or parents can hire private services.
A child custody evaluator’s primary role is to help the judge make well-informed decisions in high-conflict child custody cases. They work on a thorough understanding of each parent, the child and the overall family dynamics by performing a series of tasks, and one of which is conducting interviews.
These interviews are pivotal in giving the judge a full picture of the parent-child relationships before finalizing a child custody decision. Thus, parents must ensure that they prepare for this critical step.
Preparing for the interview
The child custody evaluator is a trained and neutral third party, who can be a counselor, therapist, mental health practitioner, psychologist or social worker.
During home visits, they assess the child’s living conditions and ask relevant questions to both parties. Understandably, this process can be nerve-racking for parents because their answers can make or break their chances at child custody.
As in other occasions, preparation can help calm the nerves. So, during the interview, parents must:
- Manage their emotions and not badmouth the other parent
- Present themselves well by dressing appropriately and arriving punctually
- Familiarize themselves with factors that the evaluator will most likely bring up
- Answer questions honestly by acknowledging their strengths and limitations as a parent
- Express their preferences while emphasizing their willingness to adjust and work out mutually agreeable terms
Also, parents trying to manipulate the evaluator to get what they want will not result in any good. Instead, they must respect the evaluator’s expertise, and be open to valuable insights or recommendations.
Ultimately, parents must check their intentions, find solutions to their family issues and better understand their child’s needs.
Deciding the child’s future
The judge will consider the evaluator’s findings, but they do not necessarily have to follow them. The judge will always err on promoting the child’s welfare. With so much at stake, it will be wise for parents to consult a Texas representative to ensure they do things within legal terms and work on favorable outcomes for their child’s future.